DIED With his round face, friendly eyes and messages about friendship, Thomas the Tank Engine quickly became a children's favorite when he debuted on British television in 1984. A creator of the original program, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, David Mitton wrote or directed 180 episodes and saw the show expand to the U.S., where Ringo Starr (and later, George Carlin) starred as Mr. Conductor. Mitton also worked on the popular series Thunderbirds and started his own children's-television production company. Ever devoted to his craft, Mitton was developing another project, a kids' series called Adventures on Orsum Island, during his...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!